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News Release

Government of Canada Begins Regulation of Products Containing Mercury

OTTAWA, Ont. -- February 28, 2011 -- The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced the start of a regulatory process to prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of most mercury-containing products in Canada.

“These proposed regulations would eliminate about four and a half tonnes of mercury in products currently entering the Canadian marketplace each year. It is the first time that the Government of Canada is broadly regulating mercury found in manufactured products,” said Minister Kent. 

“Mercury is a neurotoxin. Ingesting methylmercury can affect the neuro-development and learning ability of small children. Keeping products that contain mercury out of the marketplace helps to protect the health of Canadians,” added Minister Aglukkaq.

The main goal of the regulation is to reduce the amount of mercury entering the environment from products. In the environment, mercury can transform into methylmercury, a harmful form of the substance that is absorbed by living organisms, such as fish, and becomes more and more concentrated as it moves up the food chain.

The Government of Canada will still allow some important mercury-containing products to continue to be manufactured and imported, including scientific instruments, dental fillings, and fluorescent lamps. There will be limits on the amount of mercury allowed in different types of fluorescent lamps, and improved label information for consumers about the mercury in the products and how to safely dispose of them at the end of their useful lives.

The proposed Regulations Respecting Products Containing Certain Substances Listed in Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, were published on Saturday February 26 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 75-day comment period. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments on the proposed regulations before May 12, 2011.

This proposed regulation, along with Canada’s integrated risk management strategy for mercury and ongoing international efforts to reduce mercury emissions, demonstrate the Government of Canada’s national and international leadership on mercury management.

Related newsroom documents:

Proposed Regulation of Mercury-Containing Products in Canada
[Backgrounder - 2011-02-28]

Mercury in the Environment
[Backgrounder - 2011-02-28]

Related web pages:

Proposed Regulation of Mercury-containing Products in Canada

CEPA Registry - link to the Canada Gazette notice

Frequently Asked Questions

Request for Comments

For more information, please contact:

Veronica Petrò
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008
1-888-908-8008

Jenny Van Alstyne
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Health Canada
613-957-2983

Environment Canada’s Twitter page: http://twitter.com/environmentca

Environment Canada’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/environmentcan

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